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Do We Get the Government We Deserve?!,
This review is from: My Years as Prime Minister (Ron Graham Books) (Paperback)
I received this book as a gift, but didn't crack it for 18 months. I've had a private debate with myself about who was the worst Prime Minister Canada ever had. I narrowed it to Brian Mulroney or Jean Chretien.
I based the evaluation on who had most squandered Canada's great wealth of natural and human resources to the mania of economic liberalism and the other fads of post national and post structural culture.
Both administrations had the taint of corruption, but I came to the conclusion that Chretien even outdid Mulroney in the sell out of our national potential and identity, only in part by lying to us about his intention to reject NAFTA.
Free Trade, Monetarism, Deregulation and Privatization profoundly contravened the National economic policies which had built Canada from Confederation.
Here we are 17 years after Chretien's first election. The revolutionary paradigm set in place by him and his predecessor is still in effect. The country is increasingly de-industrialized, its scientific and technological infrastructure being dismantled.
We have the first generation in perhaps its history that is substantially poorer than that of their parents. Single income families, lifetime employment, pensions and benefits have become things of the past (MP's excepted!).
The empty aphorisms of the 'knowledge economy' have replaced that of the integrated industrial economy. The latter's high wages and high expectations have been replaced with transient, dead end, low paying service jobs for all except a small segment of highly trained specialists in abstract disciplines.. perhaps 20% of the workforce, leaving millions in the dustbin of the New Economy.
Our 'progress' now means our children must compete with the most desperate Maquilladora Free Trade Zones, the other half of the Free Trade profit equation, for productive wages, the real legacy of his 'Team Canada' trade junkets.
Canada is left in the tidal wash of a chaotic international financial order where greed infused derivative instruments of no productive value can devastate the lives of millions.We have been laid bare to the fangs of the wolves of international finance by their running dogs in government.
We have seen a vast polarization of wealth. A steady drumbeat of repeals of social guarantees so hard won to ensure an equitable sharing of the nation's wealth. The taxation system has become regressive and consumption based (another forgotten campaign promise of Chretien's).. slanted toward an ever narrowing, parasitic and grotesquely rich oligarchy that is picking from the spoils of an unravelling society.
The country sees its primary institution of marriage reduced to an absurdity, its respect for life undone by the elevation of the prime directives of radical individualism and moral relativism, as the basis for a 'freedom', beyond any commensurate responsibility to the most vulnerable and voiceless of our society. All of this formalized and orchestrated under Chretien, levered into place by an unelected and unfettered judiciary of immense intellectual mediocrity, like their sponsor (none more so than Bev McLaughlin, the radical 60's era feminist Chretien appointed as Chief Justice).
Chretien supported the divisiveness of the Charlottetown Accord with its 'distinct status' which proved he had none of the backbone of Trudeau in constituting the indivisibility of the country, while portraying himself as an undiluted Federalist.. hypocrisy disguised as pragmatism.
So here you have Chretien's response to these charges. It is not surprising that it is shallow, ego centric, chauvinistic to party politics, bitter towards opponents and shows no trace of vision or understanding of deeper moral currents.. which he freely admits to having little interest in, in the first place.
Having none of these, he drifted, blown by the surface breezes of an amorphous, sentiment saturated sophistry without structure or integrity. What we are left with here is a gloating pride in his ability to discern the direction of the trade winds of the time and turn that into political success, free of the anchor of principle.
The poblem we have now is the stays of our economy and society have been knocked out from under us. And there is no political impulse at the present time to reverse the disintegration of our country. Does a country get the leadership it deserves. If so this era is a sad reflection of our current state in comparison to promise framed by the founders and builders of our nation.
This folksy populist has proved himself little more than a petty Free Market and New Age ideologue, without the imagination or wherewithal of character to discern the deep harm and pain his policies have inflicted on the country. He is a legend in, and only in, his own mind.
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Initial post: Mar 25, 2012 4:42:52 PM PDT
C. Poupart says:
Review the book, not what you think of the author's politics or personality. That's why there are blogs. This is a marketplace and these reviews are intended to help customers make informed purchasing decisions. Personally, I despise Chretien (though not for your junior league socialist reasons), but that's not relevant to the quality of the memoir one way or the other.
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